So many things have been happening! Here is a tiny glimpse into the first few days…
sunflower seed tweezing
counting with the short bead stair
having a lesson on watercolor painting
learning about fruits and vegetables (and tasting them too)
tweezing sunflower seeds while listening to a friend play the bells
painting at the easel
more metal insets
learning the decimal system
playing the bells
making a welcome to school picture to put in the frame outside the classroom
experimenting with knobless cylinders
learning about land, water and air
investigating items on the special interest tray
playing with the continent map
discovering the phonogram “sh”
learning how to clean a table
Can’t wait for next week!
As we are so lucky to have a variety of cultures represented in our school, we asked a mom and her father who is visiting from Japan to come and help with origami.
They were able to make a variety of animals, paper airplanes, a ball but one of the most loved was the tiny doll! (Thank you to Junko and GiGi!)
Several of the children also brought in traditional clothes from Japan and India. It was wonderful to see and they also allowed other children to try on the clothes.
Some of the older children wanted to make their own “Flags of Asia” books. They are able to draw the flags and color them in by themselves. This is a work in progress as there are SO many countries in Asia!
Dr. Montessori felt the ages between 3-6 is the time of the “conscious absorbent mind.” In a prepared environment such as ours, the children are exposed to hands on learning that will stay with them for a lifetime. Montessori often said, “Impressions do not merely enter his mind: they form it” (Absorbent Mind, 1995). After the first level where the absorbent mind prepares the unconscious (from 0-3 years), the mind then slowly awakens to the conscious level, establishing memory, and the power to understand and reason. The knowledge that the child is internally seeking is then absorbed.
“Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.”
“Our care of the child should be governed, not by the desire to make him learn things, but by the endeavor always to keep burning within him that light which is called intelligence.” – Maria Montessori
It is amazing to hear stories of parents who come to visit the classroom! We are used to the atmosphere in our classroom and it is wonderful to hear the observations of others. Here is a great blog post speaking to the Secret of Childhood! Enjoy!
Link to a great Blog Post regarding Children!
Check out the Google Doodle today to find out more about the amazing woman Dr. Maria Montessori! Just so happens the Google guys were Montessori children!
Here are some articles that may be of interest:
We are proud to be carrying on the Montessori Method!
From the New York Times
Here is a wonderful article which may help parents understand a little of what we are all about. Although not all classrooms are the same, it is important to have a specific feel to the classroom. It is not ours, it belongs to the children.
Dr. Montessori felt that movement was vital to a child’s education. “But movement is a part of man’s very personality, and nothing can take its place.” She writes in The Secret of Childhood. (p. 97) She instructed educators not to inhibit movement but to give order to a child’s movements.
“We must desist from the useless attempt to reduce the child to a state of immobility. We should rather give “order” to his movements, leading them to those actions toward which his efforts are actually tending. “ Dr. Montessori’s Own Handbook. (p. 52)
Therefore in Montessori classrooms children are given LOTS of opportunity for movement. Materials are carried to rugs and tables before working with. Rugs are rolled up and chairs are pushed in when a child is finished. Activities are carefully chosen so that they do not hinder a child’s movements. For example, a teacher makes sure a pitcher is easy to grasp and balance so that the child can practice pouring and not get frustrated with the pitcher’s handle.
One exercise that Dr. Montessori developed for teaching movement is called “walking on the line.” In our classroom we have a large circle taped to the floor. At first we showed children how to walk, one at a time trying to balance as if the tape were a balance beam. We then added interest by giving children something to carry as they walked. Then we added some lovely piano music composed by Sanford Jones , a Montessori teacher who has created many musical activities for children. We now walk, march, gallop and run (without shoes,) a few at a time and have a lot of fun. The children really enjoy this activity and it is great to see their coordination and sense of rhythm develop.
Another movement exercise the children are currently enjoying is to build a maze with the red rods and then take turns walking through it. A teacher stands by and helps straighten the maze when necessary and help with turn taking if needed but this is mostly an independent activity.
A Montessori classroom allows a child free choice of activities. Our goal is that children concentrate on the activity they are doing.
One indication that a child is concentrating is when a child repeats an activity. Dr. Maria Montessori observed this phenomenon and over the years it has become seen as something desirable in a classroom. “Though such instances of a concentration reaching insensibility to the outer world were not usual, I noticed a peculiar behavior that was common to all, and practically the rule in all they did – the special characteristic of child work, which I later called “repetition of the exercise.” She goes on to write that after repeating works, children appear “as if rested, full of life, with the look of those who have experienced some great joy.” (The Secret of Childhood, 1986, p. 127)
We are beginning to see repetition in the classroom! This is very exciting because it suggests that children are beginning to concentrate at a deep level.